Did you know that hamsters could eat chicken? In this post we’ll look to see if chicken is safe for hamsters to eat, along with discussing the nutritional benefits of chicken and how you should go about feeding them to your hamster!
What Is Chicken?
Chicken is a very popular form of white meat, from the animal chicken.
A domesticated subspecies of the red junglefowl, which originates from Southeastern Asia, the chicken is a familiar staple in American cuisine. Adult males are referred to as cocks. Younger males are called cockerels. Castrated males are referred to as capons.
Originally, chickens were used for their meat, but now lots of chickens are kept to produce eggs.
Unfortunately, a large proportion of eggs are produced in battery farms, which originated in Great Britain in the 1920s and spread throughout the U.S. after World War II.
While chickens are not famous for their flying skills, they can grow to be very large. The average hen weighs around two pounds. The world’s largest chicken weighed about 16 pounds!
Can Hamsters Eat Chicken?
Let’s answer the question “Can Hamsters Eat Chicken?” Yes they can eat plain, cooked chicken. Raw or undercooked chicken must not be fed to your hamster.
Contrary to popular belief, hamsters are not herbivores and do in fact enjoy a small amount of meat in their diet.
Chicken is a natural food source that hamsters can eat. It is also inexpensive and easily available. If possible, choose chicken breast. Don’t feed your hamster bones because as their dangerous for your hamster and can be a choking hazard.
Benefits Of Chicken For Hamsters
Hamsters can eat chicken as part of their diet, but they should ideally be fed plain, unseasoned chicken.
There are many nutritional benefits of chicken, which is why it’s such a popular choice. It’s cheap and convenient to prepare, and it tastes great. Unlike red meat, chicken has a low-fat content, which is good for hamsters, as they are known to over eat. It also provides a good amount of protein, which helps support muscle growth.
Chicken is a good source of protein, energy, and essential minerals. It is high in B vitamins, which help the body make red blood cells and use them to generate energy. It contains vitamin D, which aids in the absorption of calcium. Additionally, chicken contains collagen, which is beneficial to the eyes and immune system. In addition, chicken is an excellent source of electrolytes (potassium and sodium), which balance fluid levels in cells.
Chicken is also a good source of Vitamin A and B12, chicken contains a wide range of essential minerals and vitamins. It’s also a great source of protein and is a good source of phosphorus, which helps strengthen bones and teeth and is useful for the brain.
Risks Of Chicken For Hamsters
There are two primary risks of feeding chicken to your hamster;
The biggest risk of feeding chicken to your hamster is food poisoning.
Food poisoning is very common when consuming raw or undercooked chicken.
Chicken is an excellent source of protein for hamsters, but if you’re worried about food poisoning, there are some precautions you need to take. Raw chicken is often full of bacteria, including Campylobacter and Salmonella. To kill bacteria and chemicals, chicken should be cooked to 164 degrees Fahrenheit.
One way to reduce your hamster’s risk of food poisoning is to slightly overcook your chicken.
Under no circumstance should you feed your hamster raw chicken.
Unless pre-prepared, chicken contains bones. Bones can be a serious chocking hazard for your hamster and you should ensure that you do not feed your hamster any chicken that is on a bone.
Hamsters are known for storing their food, and this can cause problems for a couple of reasons.
If any chicken are left uneaten in your hamsters cage, they could rot, start to smell and attract insects.
Your hamster may also store uneaten chicken in their cheek pouches, and it’s not uncommon for hamsters to develop abscesses, which can be sore for your pet.
That’s why it’s advisable to monitor your hamster when giving them chicken and immediately remove and discard any uneaten chicken from their cage.
How To Feed Chicken To Your Hamster
Firstly, decide on the part of the meat you are going to feed your hamster. Ideally you would feed them cooked chicken breast.
Some chicken products contain excessive amounts of sugar and salt, and your hamster may have digestive problems after consuming it. So avoid products like chicken nuggets!
As with the introduction of any new food to your hamsters diet, if you are going to try feeding your hamster chicken, you need to monitor your hamster closely whilst eating them.
The best way to introduce chicken to your hamster is by offering small amounts of chicken once or twice a week. The quantity will depend on the size of your hamster, but a tablespoon of chicken once or twice a week is sufficient for most hamsters.
How Much Chicken Can A Hamster Eat?
Chicken provides protein for hamsters. Since hamsters are omnivores, they can easily digest it and break it down into amino acids for repair. This is an essential part of the nutrient-rich diet of hamsters, as protein is required for their growth. Even though hamsters don’t normally eat chicken in nature, it is okay to give them a little piece of chicken occasionally.
However, it is best to prepare chicken thoroughly and serve it to the hamster only after it has been fully cooked.
While hamsters can eat chicken, you should limit their intake to a few grams per week.
It is better to serve chicken only once or twice a week to avoid causing harm to your hamster.
When feeding your hamster new foods, you should always start with a tiny amount to ensure that they like it, and that they don’t encounter an allergic reaction. So if you want to try feeding your hamster chicken then we would recommend giving a very small portion size, about the size of a teaspoon.
Another good way to work out what is the right amount of chicken to feed your hamster is to give them a portion they can comfortably hold within their hands.
Other Than Chicken What Else Can Your Hamster Eat?
We have looked at if your hamster can eat chicken.
Other than good quality hamster food, what else could you be feeding your hamster?
Grains are a staple food for hamsters. You should give about a tablespoonful each day. Grains can be found in commercially prepared hamster mixes, providing protein and carbohydrates. Avoid overfeeding fatty nuts (peanuts and sunflower seeds), as they can cause obesity.
Fresh, organic vegetables are the best choice for your hamster.
If you’re not using organic produce, be sure to clean it properly to get rid of any pesticides.
Whilst most vegetables are generally safe for hamsters, dark green vegetables are the best choice, so things like;
- Broccoli spears
- Carrot tops
- Dandelion greens
- Romaine lettuce
Avoid iceberg lettuce and other high-water veggies or fruits (such as watermelon) to avoid stomach problems.
Like vegetables, most fruit is OK for hamsters in small portions, as a supplement to the usual diet.
Some good choices are;
- Apples (with pips removed)
Remember always remove any uneaten veggies or fruits from your hamster’s cage within 24 hours to avoid them going off.
Often overlooked for hamsters, hay is a wonderful gnawing food that can keep your hamster’s teeth clean.
Your hamster should always have access to fresh water, changed daily.
What’s The Best Diet For Hamsters?
If you have a hamster, you need to make sure that you are feeding them the best food possible.
We’ve discussed if hamsters can eat chicken, and whilst hamsters can eat a wide variety of things, their primary diet should consist of good quality hamster food.
There are a lot of options available for your hamster, but not all of them are good! If you want to learn more about the best hamster food, you can read our full review of the best hamster foods here.
If you just want to know what we recommend, it’s Kaytee Pro Health Hamster food.
The Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Food was created by animal nutritionists to ensure that your hamster gets the correct nutrition within their diet.
To support digestive health, Forti-Diet Pro Health includes probiotics and prebiotics. This food is high in natural antioxidants for general health and immunity protection, as well as some bigger, crunchier pieces to promote dental health through natural chewing action.
- Larger, crunchy pieces supports dental health through natural chewing activity
- Prebiotics and probiotics to support digestive health
- Naturally preserved for ideal freshness
- A nutritionally complete diet for hamsters and gerbils
- All natural
Now you know if it is safe to feed your hamster chicken. Just remember, always start by introducing a very small portion of chicken to your hamster, and look out for any signs of discomfort or unusual behaviour.
If your hamster has an adverse reaction after eating chicken, contact your local veterinarian immediately.